Stuff and that.

Stuff. And yeah. That

Category: KonMari

Kon Maudy reaches the end of the wardrobe

I am currently wearing the last long sleeved shirt in my wardrobe. It prickles and is stiff and a bit scratchy. And the collar goes in my mouth so I chew it. I don’t chew my clothes. I think that’s why it was the last shirt on the rack. I think it’s been stiff and scratchy from day one. And I’m also pretty sure I’ve only worn it maybe twice. Probably because of the scratchy.

It was interesting when I got to the last five or so shirts – there had to be a reason why they were the last ones left, and it got really hard each day to pick what I was going to wear. Aside from El Scratcho, there was another linen shirt that was a”needs must” purchase. Not something I’d usually buy, but I got rather wet on the way to work one day and had to buy a new skin out outfit (seriously, it absolutely pissed down for about five minutes, I got saturated to the skin. Wet t-shirts aren’t work appropriate attire). It did the job, but it’s short in the sleeves and, well just about everywhere else to be honest. Not a favourite.

There is another shirt which is best described as a top. It has raglan sleeves. I really don’t like raglan sleeves. Why do I keep buying stuff with raglan fucking sleeves, then? One of the mysteries of the universe I do believe. I also don’t know whether I like it or not. Eh, I think it might go. Or it might not. I’ll decide when it’s dry. The last two shirts are ancient oxford cloth shirts from Sportscraft. One is maybe eight years old, and the other one is pink. I don’t wear pink. Which is an abject lie. I don’t wear a lot of pink, and I don’t know if this shirt is a pink shirt that I will wear. Confused now. Will stop. I like some pinks I don’t know if I like this pinks. Ok. Backing away from the pinks.

I’m keeping the pink shirt and its purple mate for the time being. Basically, my requirement for a shirt (aside from it fitting), actually my requirement for all my clothes is to wear them and not be aware of them while I am doing so. If I’m aware of my clothing, that means there is a 99.89% chance it fucking shits me and I should probably do away with it. The pink shirt and the purple one don’t shit me, even though they were in the bottom five. I didn’t wear them earlier because the two pairs of trousers I had left clashed with pink and purple (it’s really lilac). Neither really went so well with ocean blue or brown stripes), so I had to wait until black trousers were available again. They’re staying. Well, definitely the purple one. Maybe not the pink one.

AND I FOUND A PAIR OF JEANS!!!

Aaaaaages ago, I bought two pairs of jeans, then promptly put on weight and didn’t wear them. I did pull out one pair but they were a bit jeez, I don’t know exactly. Suffice to say I was aware of them when I wore them, and I don’t enjoy that in a garment. And I assumed that the two pairs were identical. I don’t know why. Anyway, the too big ones were dirty, the nqr pair were also dirty, so I dragged out the other pair. And O.M.F.G. They fit. They’re flattering, go in where I do, out where I do, and they’re really really nice. Unbelievable. (Levi’s 312s, if you’re interested)

Now I have reached the end of my wardrobe, I have:

  • Worn 32 different long sleeved shirts, five short sleeved t-shirts and three long sleeved t-shirts
  • Worn six pairs of work trousers, two pairs of cargo pants and three pairs of jeans
  • Worn two skirts
  • Worn one dress

And I have…

  • Culled five shirts
  • Culled one pair of trousers
  • Threw out one cardigan (I stuck my thumb through a tiny hole. Now it has a yuge hole)
  • Potentially re-homed another pair of trousers and a shirt
  • Probably culled the NQR jeans
  • Realised I have Issues with polyester trousers (particularly when a) there has been an unseasonably warm autumn, and b) one has a window seat)
  • Ditto re tights. Not pleasing.
  • Also, I have a lot of clothes

I do have an effective immediate “Do Not Buy” on long sleeved shirts, and a smallish shopping list of:

  • Jeans (ordered a black pair of the 312s. On sale, too)
  • Navy blue cardigan to replace the one I stuck my thumb through
  • Non-polyester work pants
  • Black shoes
  • Work friendly jumper/cardigan(s)
  • Unicorn Pants (full length exercise tights with a reflective strip and full sized pockets.)

I reckon there’s a fair to middling chance I can accommodate my shopping list without completely destroying my bank balance. I just need to remember legs are only one really long. And I need to back away from the shirts for the foreseeable future. Maybe longer.

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Kon Maudy v the wardrobe

Of course you are all desperate to know about my clothes situation and my struggle with “nothing to wear”. A dive into my wardrobe revealed that, contrary to popular belief, I have quite a lot of clothes. I have maybe six pairs of trousers, two winter weight skirts (plus a couple of lighter ones) and a ridiculous number of shirts. Possibly thirty. That’s a LOT of shirts. That’s just my long sleeved ones, I only have one short sleeved shirt, and I think I have five sleeveless ones, plus a heap of plain cotton t-shirts that I wear all through summer. So, I’ve come up with a couple of “rules” to go along with this wardrobe deep dive investigation:

  1. I must wear every single (winter/cold weather appropriate) thing in my wardrobe at least once.
  2. It’s ok if I don’t wear warm weather clothes because it’s actually fucking freezing at the moment.
  3. I am not allowed to buy anything new until I have worn every single item in my wardrobe at least once.
  4. (Item two does not include under garments. And I am allowed to buy more socks)
  5. I am not allowed to re-wear a shirt until I have worn every single one.

So, after a couple or so weeks, how am I getting along? Have I resorted to public nudity? Have I binned the lot?

I have worn ALL my pants, two woolen skirts and I think about 20 ish shirts. I’ve also worn most of my knits, and all of my shoes. Plus, I’ve worn a few warmer weather items because Victorian weather is broken.

So far, I have culled one pair of trousers, and the jury is out on another two pairs. And, I’ve culled three long sleeved shirts. I am down to maybe six shirts that I haven’t worn yet, and the decision about which one to wear is getting harder and harder! I’ve worn all both my winter skirts, and most of my cardigans/jumpers.

The pants that went – They are probably the best looking pants I own, they’re a great length, flattering cut etc etc. BUT (there’s always one of those) they have the most ridiculously pissy little belt that I need to wear because otherwise they chafe awkwardly (a very solid crotch seam v an unfortunate bicycle related injury. Ahem.) The fabric has *no* give – which is not ace when one spends one’s day sitting on one’s arse. And it has the weirdest sort of three dimensional texture. Don’t love them. At all. I re-homed them.

The shirts were all quite nice white based and patterned oxford cloth shirts, but they all have weird stains and are all a bit tired and jaded for work. I think they’re all at least five years old, so probably have done their duty. Plus, I’d just recently bought three new shirts. (This explains why I’m not to buy anything else!!!) (Although socks don’t count. Obvs.) There is one shirt I think I really don’t like (the fabric is coarse) and there are three more that are older than the white ones I culled, and have seen better days.

The two pairs of pants I don’t know if I feel the love for are both wine infused online purchases. They are both simultaneously too long and too short at the same time. I am tallish*. I bought them from an overseas website that has tall people clothes, the plus side being they actually cut the seat properly so they’re not just “whack 5cm onto the hem and call it tall” pants, and the knee is in the right place, not mid way up my thigh. BUT, when I was selecting the size, I’ve picked really really tall instead of just a bit tall so, these pants are too short to be full length and too long to be 7/8 which is what they’re supposed to be. Awkward. I will either take them up or donate them.

Some of my shirts are – well. I don’t know what I was thinking when I bought them. Okay, I do know what I was thinking when I bought them. I tend to go up a size because I have broad shoulders and long arms. Unfortunately, that means I have more than a couple of shirts that are ridiculously big on me while fitting appropriately in the sleeve department. I have to decide what I think about that.

Shoes are a thing as well. Apparently, I have weirdly sized feet. I am between a 9 and a nine and a half, but for some reason, shoe shops around here don’t like to do the half size once you get over a size nine. This gives me the option of a nine which is painfully tight, and a ten which is ridiculously loose. Buying numerous insoles to make a ten fit a nine and a half is annoying.

I currently have three pairs of “work” shoes – two pairs of Rollie Nation Derby Punch (navy and tan), and a pair of NancyBird Mary-Janes (chocolate brown). And my sneakers, which I am currently wearing because I can’t be bothered. They are black. I have issues with ‘nude’ shoes. And I have issues with my tan Rollies because of their perceived nudity. They’re not actually nude. They are sand. Or tan. They look perfectly fine with just about everything I wear them with. (They are in my bag. This may also be contributing to today’s sneaker wearing.)

There is a pair of nice boots languishing in my wardrobe. Very nice boots indeed. They are size ten, so they are slightly too big. I get hot feet, so I don’t like wearing socks with them (which makes them fit), plus, lugging them to work won’t make me cheery. They might have to go out for adoption. Although I should wear them once first. To be sure.

I work in a dubiously heated office that varies from the Sahara at midday to Greenland in mid-winter, often on the same day. Also, I am a lady of a certain age and subject to Tropical Moments. Cardigans are my friend. However, I also walk to and from work in the cooler parts of the day, so jumpers are also my friend. I don’t hate any of my knits to be honest. I have a couple that I don’t really wear all the time, but I do wear them when it’s warmer. And my current faves are three really super over-sized jumpers I got from Country Road last winter, but they pill like absolute pilling machines. Glad they were on sale.

Thought I probably should go through ALL my winter clothes, because still can’t go nude even on the weekend.

Saturday is the chores and errands and driving around in circles day. So, I wore my “Mum Uniform”. Dorky af but practical and comfortable. Of course I ran into every man and his dog that I knew. Also, got rained on a lot. I forgot about rain. It’s wet and quite cold. I wore navy blue chinos – sorta heavy ones. Nice and warm. So, why don’t I wear them? Because they are strange. They have a really high waist, which I don’t particularly like, and a sideways seam just below my knee. I also cracked out the long sleeved t-shirts – I used to wear these to work all the time , and bought three (or four) a couple of years ago and they’ve languished in my wardrobe ever since. They’re on the thin side, but they’re fine under a flanno. I’m not trying to impress anyone when I’m at the supermarket!

I have jeans as well – one pair that is slightly too big, and two pairs that are slightly too small. I wear the too big ones mostly. I have to decide whether the too small ones are *really* too small, or just tight because I won’t wear them.

In summary – because we needs one of those…

  • I have quite a lot of clothes.
  • I don’t need any more shirts, even if I cull another five or so.
  • I do need black shoes.
  • I want another pair of mary janes.
  • I would really like another work skirt
  • I prefer cigarette pants to wider legged pants
  • And I mostly like my shirts to fit on the tailored side
  • Cardigans are better for work, because options.

(*ish is well, I’ve always thought I was 179cm tall; however, Chaos has had a wee growth spurt and is visibly taller than me. He reckons he’s only 177cm. One of us is delusional. I suspect it’s me. Once he is firmly in the 180+ territory (probably next Tuesday), I will reclaim my centimetres.)

Kon Maudy – part the second

Weirdly, about a year ago, I found myself in a similar situation to the one I am finding myself now. Contemplating the consequences of public nudity. Again.

I have nothing to fucking wear.

Well, I do. But I HATE IT ALL. Fuck.

Now, because nothing I currently own (particularly in the bottoms department) sparks joy, I should in fact ditch the whole lot and start again. But, the problem with that is simply I seriously cannot afford to replace every single item in my wardrobe.

Up until a couple of years ago, my work wardrobe consisted of a couple of nice skirts, four pairs of Eva Capri pants from Sportscraft – black, navy, silver and a random colour; plus a selection of shirts and cardigans and voila. Dressed every day. No thinking required. I would replace the capri pants every couple of years as they got a bit tired looking, switch out a shirt or two each season… Like clockwork. Then some bastard decided to new and improve them. They did not fit. Not even close. AND the size up was too fucking big. What sort of arsehole designer does that. Sportscraft. Obviously.

Despite Sportscraft bowing down to the wrath of a million angry middle aged ladies, and re-vamping my favourite pants yet again, I sort of cracked the shits with them and am yet to try out the new ones. So, I investigated some options. I now have a wardrobe full of pants that are eh. Ok. Ish. I guess. And I’ve also lost five of the kilograms that were giving me grief twelve months ago. This means that the pants I bought last winter are a tiny bit on the big side. Annoying. Much. Also, none of them were quite what I was looking for in a work pant. Much more annoying. I don’t want much in a trouser – full length, narrowish legs (but not strangle-y) decent pockets that will hold my mobile phone, id card and wallet so I don’t have to take a bag everywhere. Ditto for skirts. Well, the pocket bit, and fitted.

So, here I am. Hating my clothes. I can’t ditch them all because I can’t afford it, and it would be exceedingly wasteful to toss out half a dozen pairs of pants and a heap of shirts because I’ve taken against them. I could like them again next Tuesday. I am in a mood.

That’s another good reason to not throw anything out. Moods I am having. Not sure if it’s the ladypause or just having the shits on in general. However, I am digress. Pants I have some. Likes I have none. So. What to do?

I have decided that I am going to “review” my trousers (and some of my shirts as well) and see whether my feelings are valid or you know. Nuts.

I have tested two outfits:

  • Blue chinos and a cotton striped shirt, grey jumper – verdict. Shirt’s nice. It can stay. Jumper has sauce on it. Bloody bosoms. Pants need a belt. Might be too big. Wore them with my blue Rollies. Not the right shoes for the pants.
  • Charcoal grey pants, white shirt, red jumper. Love the jumper, that’s a no brainer. Pants were pretty comfy, they just skim my ankles, so I’m not sure if they’re too short or too long. Wore them with Mary Janes. The shirt is too long and annoying. I didn’t like it. Also, it was missing a button. I wore the shirt to pilates and my physio suggested a french tuck. Did it with my tights, and it looked ace. Fixed the button and yeah. Try it with different pants.

Tomorrow, I am trialling some blue dress pants, a different white shirt and a red cardigan. And probably Mary Janes.

So far, I’m not getting rid of anything. Only a million more outfits to go.

Kon Maudy

I’ve just had a wee hiatus. A fortuitous alignment of public holidays meant three days of annual leave gave me ten consecutive days off work. I did spend some of the days off doing family things with the family (as one does) but spent the rest of the time doing those pesky little (if you call five fucking hours of filing little) jobs that you blow off because they’re going to take five hours and when do you ever have five hours that you don’t have to spend at least two of them driving people to places and the rest of the time doing washing.

I also managed to watch the entire Kon Mari telly series on the Netflix before I went on leave. I didn’t know what to expect from the show, and I didn’t expect to discover what I did. As you probably remember, I did the half arsed KM business a couple of years ago, and stopped when I decided my house was tidy enough. So, when I watched the show, I think I was expecting everyone to be the full minimalist and super zen at the end of the experience. What I found was a lot more people like me.

The main thing though that I took out of watching the series, was that for the process to be a success, it had to be about “we” and not “she” (or “he”) – a joint process with everyone in the family taking their share of responsibility; and it wasn’t until that moment where responsibility became a “we” thing that something clicked. The other thing was it’s not about choosing what to discard, it’s choosing what to keep. Which is a different thing all together!

And I also discovered that my level of half arsed-ness really is/was enough.

Of course, when the series came out, all these self righteous wankers latched on to the “first world privilege” aspect where chucking stuff is the privilege of those who can afford to replace it with more stuff. While this might be true for some, eh. Not so much for me. I got rid of about a squintygazillion things, and didn’t really replace them. The process made me a much more discerning shopper, not just in relation to clothes, but to just about everything. And Lordy, the faux outrage about only keeping ten books. Now, I am a book lover. I am almost a book hoarder. I love my books. I love patting them and looking at them and reading them. BUT if I didn’t have the space that I have for books, say, I moved into a tiny house in a paddock somewhere away from everything that’s shitting me at the moment… you know, I reckon I would probably keep a couple of cook books, my recipe book, and maybe half a dozen other books that I really couldn’t live without. So, the idea of keeping only ten books is not as outrageous as it seems.

Which leads me back to the start – doing those pesky not so little jobs that I’ve been ignoring. When I did Kon Mari two or three years ago, I did in fact “do” paper, but like when you clean out the pantry and find that mysterious bottle of something that used to be green, and was past its prime five years ago… This time, I did “paper” properly. And decided I could in fact live without my mobile phone contract from 2002. And the one from 2004 and pretty much every second year between then and 2018. Much paper. Many piles. Several trees. Perhaps a forest.

And the pantry, fridge and freezer – only a bag and a half of rubbish – half used bottles of this and that, ingredients for recipes that nobody liked. It was a thing of beauty until I did the groceries. I cracked the shits when I threw out a bag full of meat from the freezer just before I had my week off. I meal plan on Saturday morning, go to the butcher and get meat, things change, meat didn’t get eaten when it was supposed to and got chucked in the freezer. And some of it shouldn’t have gone in the freezer. Nowt quite like defrosting a lump of meat that’s past it and having to re-write dinner plans on the fly. This week, I have delegated responsibility for meals to the other grown up in the family, so he’s had the fun of coming up with a delicious and nutritious meal for four people, none of whom like the same things. I’m loving it. Not sure whether the other grown up is loving it quite so much.

And I looked at clothes again. But that’s a story for another post.

Existentialism for the modern woman.

I am in the throes of an existential wardrobe crisis.  How on earth can my life be expected to have meaning if I can’t even manage to dress myself in the morning without the putting on and taking off of eleventy bazillion individual items of clothing on a daily basis? Apparently, this is not the first time I have fallen prey to this level of ennui – one of my friends reminded me of this when I was bemoaning my lack of enthusiasm in the wardrobe department. In this instance, at least, I have not been unable to go to work because I have nothing to wear.

It’s come close.

I believe there may be a couple of reasons for this (at least five, to be honest. Maybe as many as eight). The main one being that I am currently a bit fat. Not yugely fat – just that point of fatness where I either need to slam on 10kg so I can go up a size or drop 5kg (or 8kg) and fit in all my clothes. While this may seem to be a no brainer, the existential nature of my crisis means that this summer, Pimms became my Official Summer Beverage of Choice. It is now autumn. And yes, Pimms has now become my Official Autumn Beverage of choice. I am not sure what will happen come winter. Actually, I know damn well what will happen come winter. Who am I even kidding? You can drink warm Pimms. Fuck. I am doomed.

As well, there has been chocolate. Quite a lot of chocolate. And even worse, quite a lot of the chocolate I know I don’t actually like. Oops. One may have to reconsider the consumption of my bodyweight in crappy chocolate on a weekly basis.  Adding to the existential nature of my crisis is, well, I have been a tiny bit overwrought lately. And self-medicating with alcohol and chocolate and ice-cream.  As one does.  The overwroughtness is slightly out of my control – well, there was the conga line of shite that piled up to make 2017 from which I am yet to fully recover (memo to self – two weeks leave in January would have been a better idea); plus there have been a few other bits and bobs that are making my day to day life best described as Interesting.  I did a check list thingy to see if I was heading towards burn-out. Just moderately stressed. Okay. Thanks. Useful to know.  Still struggling to get dressed in the morning.

The other thing that is making getting dressed in the morning a fucking godawful chore is well, you know how I KonMari’d the piss out of my clothes a couple of years ago? Well. What happened then was I got rid of everything I hated and only kept stuff I actually liked. That was all well and good, but I ended up ditching probably ten* or so shirts that I did wear despite not liking them all that much. End result was I didn’t have quite enough clothes and couldn’t find anything I really liked to replace the stuff I got rid of. So, I bought a heap of el cheapo fast fashion cotton tee shirts. This would avoid the dreaded public nudity situation and tide me over until I (hopefully) found some more stuff I liked.

I also really struggle with fast fashion from an ethical perspective (don’t get me started on fast homewares as well. Is so cheap, I can afford to replace all the doodads in the lounge room because that {insert latest colour} is soooo cute. And next thing you know, the local oppy is full of gold pineapples). The t-shirts I bought were seriously dirt cheap. Buy ten t-shirts, and get enough change from $100 to buy another t-shirt, a gold pineapple and a cup of coffee. They’re generally poorly made, so once I’m done with them they’re barely good enough for rags. It’s no wonder I’m fucking existential about my damn wardrobe.

Anyway, two years down the track, and the collection of el cheapo t-shirts are well. Trifle shabby really. I just culled said ten t-shirts, all with weird-arse stains and/or holes in them and with freaky out of shape necklines; and I’m back to where I started from two years ago, sobbing into my wardrobe with nothing to wear.

I did have a little bit of an epiphany when I was culling the trashy t-shirts – I have a couple of half way decent ones that I spent more than $10 on. They’re still in the shape they started in, they’ve kept their colour and they fit. So I procured a couple (ok, four) more non trashy t-shirts; and I did do a slightly wild slightly hormonal shop where I attempted to acquire another pair of shorts I can wear to work (epic fail. My legs are very long. The shorts? Not so much.) Also discovered things eat your lovely woollens when you don’t get them dry cleaned before you pop them away for summer.  This is not pleasing, and will necessitate some mending. At least they’re both dark colours so my dodgy stitchery will be less obvious.

So, here I am at the end of autumn, still mildly stressed out of my brain, still struggling to get dressed in the morning, and still eating too much damn chocolate. Although, I have cut back on the drinking and am a trifle terrified of the idea of heating up my Pimms. Probably should do something about the bits that are within my control…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

*I live in Victoria. It is not unreasonable to have two weeks’ each of summer tops, winter tops and trans-seasonal tops because one day it’s 40 and the next day it’s not. Plus, the ironing fairy only comes fortnightly.

 

 

 

Housekeeping (or Kon Mari 12 months later)

Think I mentioned last time I plopped ma fingers on the keyboard that I would maybe have a wee chat you youse alls about the houseworkings. Now, I am at best, an ordinary house keeper. I have staff to deal with the basics – the ironing disappears on Monday morning and comes back on Wednesday all smooth and delicious. The dog hair and dust disappears in a similar fashion on a Friday. Crinkle free clothes and a clean house – what more can a lassie desire?

Well.

A lassie might like a gourmet chef to prepare delicious, nutritious and calorie free meals, someone to hunt and gather free range and organic ingredients for aforementioned meals; and someone who will transform the slightly grubby and well-worn clothing into a suitable state for de-crinkling. Yeah. Like that’s ever going to happen. There are also those rotten little jobs that fall outside the bailiwick of the cleaning fairy and the ironing fairy, like cleaning the oven, and murdering the dust bunnies behind the bed, and washing the fucking shower curtain so it doesn’t go mouldy.  Oh, and cleaning the damn coffee machine. Sour milk and coffee smell so attractive. Not. There’s a whole heap of other little jobs that – while you know the earth won’t fall off its axis if they’re not done – make the earth rotate a lot more smoothly when they are.

Hence my dalliance with the Flylady and the KonMari business – I’ve also dallied with a few other ‘cleaning systems’ in the past as well, with similar amounts of (ahem) success. I keep going back to Flylady because she does keep track of those Little Jobs; and I keep breaking up because the twee and mundane and the fucking hell, I can feel my blood pressure rising. Lordy.

Now, I gave KonMari’s Life Changing Magic of Tidying Up a red hot go last year. I looked for joy in all the right places, and I culled and I cleaned and I sorted. Bags and bags of stuff got sent to the op shop and the school fete and to friends with needs for random things that I had but didn’t need. Then I got to a point where I a) didn’t want to spend all my free time tidying up and b) reached a level of ‘clutter’ I can more or less live with. I live with three other people and a hairy little dog, and we all have our own level of mess. Obviously, mess times four is not sustainable (the dog also contributes hair and leaves her toys around the house, so it’s really mess times five), but a girl has to have some light in her life. So, I stopped tidying for a bit to see what would happen.

And this is what happened…

Clothes – well. I have gone back in to all our clothes every few months and culled a bit and culled a bit more and culled a bit too much (oops) to the point where I had to replace a few items with “it will do for now” rather than actual joy sparkers, because public nudity is still not an acceptable thing. On the plus side, some joy sparkers I did keep are now in rotation after the diminishing bosom diminished enough I can do up buttons. There’s nowt like shopping the wardrobe for a wee bargain or ten. BUT, in saying that, the last cull was a wee shopping bag between the four of us, rather than 5-6 garbage bags it was the first time and 3-4 the second time; and to the best of my knowledge, nothing was new with tags. Also, in the past, sorting clothes was a FULL day’s job for the four of us. Now, it took me less than an hour to sort Reg and my wardrobes, and maybe 20 minutes each for the kids. Win.  I have become a more discerning shopper – I know that I do not like certain cuts of t-shirt, I don’t like some fabrics, and I prefer dresses with no defined waist lines. I will go shopping for a precise item of clothing and only buy that item. (And if someone knows where I can replace a pair of butt-ugly walking shorts with pockets, I will be eternally grateful) I’m saving a fortune! Even with the kids clothes, I am buying half what I would have bought them in the year.

Oh, and when I fold the clothes, I can’t help but mutter to myself about Ms Kondo’s folding theory being alright for teeny tiny Japanese lady clothes and underpants for teeny tiny Japanese lady bottoms, while I wrangle the suitable for a six foot plus cuddly Anglo Saxon man’s clothes into submission so they’ll fit into the teeny tiny 1950’s style cupboards we have at ours. Mutter grumble. I did re-jig the folding techniques somewhat to accommodate the relative size differential (in comparison to those tiny Japanese Lady Things) of Man sized (and tall lady sized) items of clothing . Sweet folding spots are over-ridden by the gravitational pull exerted by a XXL hoodie.

Books and paper – I did a massive cull of books last year, and while I’ve had to resort to buying the odd paper book again, I’ve not bought *that* many. I’ve even backed away from the cook books. I have actually exchanged cold hard foldings for e-books as well since my previous source sorta dried up, damnit. And I have always been pretty good at paper – I keep what I have to and cull a year’s worth at a time.

Komono – As far as crap goes, that’s even been kept to an acceptable level. And, again with the discerning shopping… Not buying shit because it’s pretty is a good way to save a load of money and not necessitate an endless cycle of pulling out all the things and putting them all back again to squeeze in the new pretty thing that you are 98% sure you’re going to use once. Oops. There’s a couple of places I need to re-visit, and I still need to get an Old Person to sit down with me and name names in the photo albums, but aside from that – all good. When I look into cupboards, stuff is still more or less where I left it a year ago, if it’s been used, it’s gone back, if it hasn’t been used, it’s still Weird Shit you can’t actually throw out, because it’s all stuff that you’ll need it when you need it and not before, and the effort to procure said weird shit outweighs the minor irritation of keeping it in the damn cupboard.

So, at the end of the day, realistically I am not a minimalist and I never will be. I am never going to end up with bare walls and one artfully placed blossom in a gorgeous vase. While it’s nice to look at, it’s totally not my jam. I like to have nice things around me, and the people I live with also like to have their things out where they can be admired and enjoyed. (And where they can reach them, assuming there’s going to be a shortage of zooper dooper wrappers and chip packets in the future. But that’s mess that can be dealt with by the perpetrator in eleven seconds flat).

My house is tidy enough.

 

 

Right. Um. Where was I?

Down the back of the couch, obviously. I’ve been busy. No. Seriously, actually busy. For the last month, flat out like a dead lizard  – we’ve been away a couple of times and had a fair bit of Family Time as well, the Hound had to have an operation on her knee after a badly timed ute-jump (she’s not dealing with convalescence well – while it’s nice to see she’s lost none of her ridiculous personality, ninja jumps to the top of our very high bed are Not On, Puppy. Can’t quite manage another $1,600 to re-fix your knee) Had a bit of a technological disaster with the old laptop that (of course) hadn’t been cleaned out yet. Someone clicked something. They will NEVER do that again. Or I will possibly have to revoke interwebs privileges. That took a bit of sorting out, but I’ve now found a lovely computer guy for stuff that’s out of my league. AND the printer died (or didn’t want to talk to the new laptops, one or t’other) – tried living without BUT that was more annoying than I would have thought. Email to work, print, scan, send home, email to destination because private. Argh.

Plus, the kids have been tag teaming lurgies – Chaos’s turn this week. Mayhem was last week. Reg and my good self have been taking it in turns. Today is my turn. Coughing til you spew =/= going to school. Anyway – it’s probably time for a bit of a half time catch up on stuffs seeing as we’re half way through the year (and I owe about four posts that are all stumbling over each other in my brains). Half time it is then…

Firstly, the lard arse. I’m down about five or six kilos, depending on which way the wind is blowing. I’m going to pull my entire hand out of the cookie jar though and stop with the face stuffing, because I suspect that 5-6kg will revert to 3-4 kilos if I continue with the biscuits. I need to find a biscuit that is pleasing without being more-ish. (Chocolate Ripple, Scotch Finger, anything wafer-y, Tic Tocs and 100s and 1000s are all in the more-ish category. Teddy Bears are not so much). I could stop entirely with the biscuits, but there’s something about a cup of pretend tea that calls out for a matching little something something to go along with it. So the singular biscuit stays. Just need to cut out the plurals.

I’m doing excellently with the non-buying of lunches. I buy something maybe once a week (pretty keen on chicken karaage from one of the food court joints. It’s really tasty, and because it’s rice and chicken and salad, I can easily kid myself it’s healthy. It’s fried chicken. It’s probably not.) And I have succumbed to the siren call of the charity chocolates twice in six months – when I was reaching for my third packet of chippies, I was all just have the fucking chocolate. So I did, it was as shit as I remembered and eh, didn’t do it again for another  month (theme? Maybe there is.)

I did discover something related to my exercise (such as it is) and my mood though – if I get my steps in, I am pleasing of demeanour. If I  miss for more than a couple of days in a row, I range from slightly shitty to absolutely incandescent with rage. Small irritations are magnified by all the other small irritations and I end up best described as A Bit Fucking Cross. For three weeks. I can’t remember the last time I sustained a bad mood for three weeks. There were legitimate external influences on my mood, but seriously, my reaction to some of the really small things that happened? Good thing I don’t work with pointy objects.  I was starting to think it was the lady-pause because I am of an age; and I do remember Mrs McGee’s phases of less than impeccable rationality from my yoof. Three days of solidly hitting my step goal and PFFT!  Bad Mood was gone. Correlation co-efficient positive one. Steps up, irritations are irritations. Steps down? I’ll fucking run you through with a javelin or something. If I had a javelin. Which, in and of itself would be a source of further irritation. So, next time I’m that cranky…send me out for a walk well away from the pointy things.

On the topic of walking – Pokemon GO rocks. Also, anything that means I can go for a two and a half hour walk with the kids and no whining or fighting has to be totally awesome in my book. I’m not sure about the gym thing yet, although Mayhem is bursting at the seams to get me into a gym (he’s playing on my account because well, he’s 10. No phone for him). When he earns technology back, I might let him have a go (long story – tl;dr version = three strikes and no tech for two weeks). All those people with their po faces and sneering about the Pokemons can pretty much get stuffed because it’s fun. Just because I now walk the long way in through the front door of work because there’s three extra poke-stops compared to the back door… eh, it’s a couple of hundred more steps for me!

I’ve officially broken up with the Flylady (again), I’m still not tidying up BUT I am still bullet journaling. I had to step back a bit when I got carried away with the decoration and the pretty and best handwriting all the time. Couple of deliberate scrappy do lists and eh, she’ll be right. I stopped tracking goals because well, setting myself up for fail isn’t fun. But as far as keeping things on track, I’m doing pretty well. (The Hound got *all* of her injections on time because written down. Although Reg didn’t like me keeping the dog’s anti-inflammatories next to the kid’s antibiotics. NO idea why.) Tracking spending shit me because I can’t remember and hello, accounting for $3.80 for a coffee every day when I really do have no other vices… So now I am trying to SAVE $100 a month instead. Much more sensible.

My blanket is coming along nicely – it’s too big to be portable now, and I only have a strip and a bit to go (plus the border). The other project is also ticking along. I took it away with me and did two squares in two days. Actually, that’s probably the most legitimate reason I’ve not been writing – the bucket of time I have for writing is the same as the bucket of time I have for crochet, and crochet is winning. Because time is a finite resource subject to change without notice. And that is a topic for another day.

Still resting…

After what could best be described as a fairly frenetic KonMari attack on a large proportion of my house, I stopped just after Easter and embarked on a brief hiatus to see what would happen if I stopped with the tidying up of all the things… That hiatus has now entered its second month and I don’t seem to be in a rush to tidy up anything else. And you know what, the house is still looking ok.

Now, because I’m not keen on being told what to do, and nor am I keen on doing things the way they’re supposed to be done (just call me Miss Free-Range 2016), my approach to the whole KonMari business was probably a bit scattergun compared to the super orderly super structured purist KM methodology. I should also state up front and out loud that I still do have a fair bit of stuff that I like dotted about the place. This could well be described as crap (or komono) by some people, but I like it (or someone else who lives in my house likes it – looking at you, several butt-ugly paintings in various rooms in my house) and I reckon liking it is enough to meet the definition of joy-sparking. And no, I’m not consigning my teddies to the fucking bin, you heartless moll. Ahem.

I suppose I did start at the start, because I started with clothes, but it appears that I also embarked on the KonMari process before KonMari was a ‘thing’ – two years ago, I did a full kitchen makeover that involved gutting an entire room and remodelling. The method I used to decide what should stay or go was remarkably similar to the KM process. Although I also had to consider whether I used the item, and also whether I had room for the item as I lost a lot of cupboard real estate in the renovation ( I lost the equivalent of a row of cupboards as the old kitchen had cupboards to the ceiling and the new kitchen doesn’t.) I still regret parting with my gorgeous Italian ceramic platters and bowls, but I had nowhere to put them. And they’re the kind of thing I’d a) use once a year and b) had a viable if not as attractive alternative that fit in the damn cupboard. (To be perfectly honest, they didn’t actually fit in a cupboard pre-renovation – they were sort of tucked into a very high up cupboard and threatened to land on unsuspecting cupboard openers.) When I officially reached the kitchen section, I cleaned out the pantry (something that gets done twice a year anyway) and chucked a peeler that shit me and kitchen was done.

And as for sentimental stuff – a bit over a year ago, Chaos moved into his own room after sharing with his little brother for nine years (and us living in the house for 13 or so years at that point. You can imagine.). In order for him to be able to move, I had to clean my very important stuff out of the wardrobe and under the bed and in the corners of what was the spare room. This took me a week, I picked up and looked at every single box and item of stuff that was crammed into that wardrobe and got rid of a lot of stuff – goodbye uni texts and notes, nine years after I graduated is long enough to keep them (I had vague ideas of doing honours, but got a job instead). Goodbye 1988 tax assessment notice. And goodbye pictures of people I didn’t recognise. We filled a skip bin twice over. Not just out of that room, other stuff was being culled at the same time, but I had a red hot go. All my sentimental stuff that I wanted to keep is in a chest of drawers under the house. Three drawers instead of an entire wardrobe and ALL the drawers, several boxes under the bed and a whole lot of other seekrit locations.

But I did tidy my clothes ‘properly’, and, with permission and some assistance, the clothes of the Gentlemen. The win for me is that despite actively removing at least half of my clothes, I have more clothes to wear. And a couple of things I didn’t feel the love for any more are now back in the rotation of clothes I wear (it appears I didn’t have issue with the skirts themselves, just the shirts I used to wear with them. I’ve culled the shirts and wear the skirts with different tops. I still need new trousers, but I’m looking at how I can mend the hook on one pair because the fact they don’t stay done up is what causes the lack of love). After discarding a HEAP of clothes I’d worn once, and some that still had tags, I am so much more discerning in my purchases. Even if something is sparking hot pink electric neon ‘buymebuymebuyme’ joy – like a pair of 8-hole cherry red Doc Martens on proper sale ($90 off) and in my size that stayed right where they were for someone else to love because you know what, they weren’t that comfortable and I really do get hot feet.

The most astonishing thing though is how damn easy it is to keep the wardrobes under control. It took me just over 15 minutes in total(!!!!!!!!) to tidy our wardrobes, including refolding Reg’s jumpers and actually folding my t-shirts (eh, I am lay-zeee. They come back from the ironing fairy on hangers and um. Sometimes they don’t make it to the drawer. But because I only have eleventy bazillion shirts instead of a gazillion, there’s room, so it’s ok.) I was dreading tidying Mayhem’s wardrobe – there was shit everywhere. And seven and a half minutes later. What mess? Yes, I timed it. I’m a dork. Chaos sorted his wardrobe on his own (he’s 13) in under five minutes.

The paper situation at ours has also stayed relatively under control, and the discernment in grocery shopping has continued. Most weeks, I’m under budget; last week, we went to the pub and spent the grocery money on beer and steaks. Oops.  Nobody starved. All good. Nothin’ to see here…

I suppose I will go back to it eventually, because there’s still stuff that needs dealing with (probably. Ok, definitely. We have about a million DVDs. Or two million. And Netflix). But after a solid three months of tidying and sorting and rearranging and finding more sensible storage solutions, I’m done enough for now. The house feels lighter, and I can now “see” the maintenance that need doing – like changing light fittings so we can have some task lighting in the dining room, getting some art for the kitchen, cleaning or replacing the carpet in the lounge room…And painting. We’ve been here 14 years, and it needs doing. Not having clutter to ignore means I can see the work that has to be done.

I’ve read some srsly negative shit about the process and how “first world” it is, and how only people who can replace the shit they cull can afford to do it, and people who can’t afford it will be throwing out stuff they need. And the poor people and the war refugees and the hoarders, it makes them seem bad for holding on.Except it’s not like that. Well, not for me, anyway – I’ve not replaced stuff I’ve got rid off, except for a vegetable peeler and a couple of t-shirts. I repaired my coat, and I’m looking at fixing (or, most likely, getting someone else to fix) my pants. Yes, the Jobs that need doing are going to add up, but hello. Actually live in the first world, so the having of a house that needs maintenance is a problem that I have. It’s more about living better with less crap. I’ve not got rid of sentimental stuff, or stuff from my grandmother… I hate to think what will happen when I have to deal with my mum’s stuff, but hopefully, she’ll continue to go through her own KM process in the mean time (and keep giving me things she knows I will appreciate and look after.)

 

 

#Bujo – or the one where I’ve been gettin’ down with the cool kids

Ok, the other thing I have been doing aside from crocheting and reading is bullet journaling. I used to do it properly a while ago – however, lost my damn notebook and went back to writing the endless list each week. Found said damn notebook whilst doing the Kon Mari shenanigans (I’ve not actually *stopped* with the KM bidness, more letting nature take its course and seeing how things flow naturally without my un-naturally cleaning the fuck out of everything that stands still for more than two seconds. Is ok so far). Digressing again. Where was I? Bullet journaling. Which is shortened to BuJo for obvious reasons that don’t need the explains. The whole Bullet Journal thang was invented in this format by a bloke called Ryder Carroll and taken to a whole new ridiculously creative extreme by just about everyone in the universe who a) likes stationery and b) likes writing lists. And yes. That would be me.

Now the normal procedure is to show pictures of ones BuJo and explain the process. Dunno if you’ve noticed this wee thing about my blog… it’s all words and no pictures. This means I am going to attempt to explain the hows and the whys without illustrations. Testing. So, this will probably end up being more about the philosophies and less about my dodgy handwriting and doodle-ability.

It’s pretty cool actually, and strangely good fun. I started again officially at the beginning of April, after having a wee trial in the old notebook. I think one of the reasons I didn’t stick to the old notebook was because I didn’t really like it. It was a grid Moleskine, and a bit smaller than A5. I have man hands and large, girlie handwriting. This was a teensy little space to write in. It was NOT sparking the joy, so I repurposed it into more of a general notebook and the place where I do the testing of new layouts and all that. I’ve got a Leuchtturm1917 that I acquired (quite legitimately) when I was in the Big Smokey at magnation in their stationery section (epic discuss about the relative merits of Moleskine v Leuchtturm1917 with the wee young lass in the shop. She agreed about the size issue. I am not mad.)

When I was a kid, I used to LOVE the day we got new stationery, and when I got a new book I was always so careful to use my best handwriting and rule all the pages neatly. Of course, this always went to shit by day three of the new book and I was back to my squirlywhirly mishmash of writing styles (I started school in one state where proper cursive was the thing, and moved to another state where it was more joined up printing. My handwriting is a mixture of both. A year of graphics and I have beautiful block printing. Still, it’s a shame about my handwriting.) Anyway, the look and smell and feel of opening that page for the very first time… swoon.

Therefore, you can imagine my quite grown up delight cracking open the pages of my new journal and feasting my eyes upon the glorious creamy goodness of 200+ untouched pages. Ahem. I need a moment.

Alright, where was I. Swooning over stationery. Girl’s got to have a hobby. Now, the traditional set up for a bullet journal can be seen in the video in the above link. Mine is sort of similar-ish. I have a couple of collections – nowt fancy.

  • List of books I’ve read/want to read
  • Stuff I want to watch on telly and movies I want to see
  • Music I’ve heard I like
  • Meals everyone likes divided up by protein source

Then I leap into a sort of calendar thingy for the month (list of dates with events, appointments etc, I attempted colour coding it for one month. That didn’t last.) and a gigantic to do list for the month. That list is mostly Big Jobs that need doing. The benefit of this is that they become top of mind instead of wafty loose ideas that pop up to the surface every now and then. And it sort of works… a couple of things that were on the radar for oh, two years, actually got done. Gasp. This year, I did our tax before the accountant sent me a reminder letter, I organised a shelf for a cupboard that I’ve wanted done for ages (two years when the kitchen was renovated) and I cleaned the oven. Also for the first time in two years. (It wasn’t that bad, it had been wiped out a few times.)

I also set some personal challenges and tried tracking habits. Ahem. Well. Set myself up for fucking failure. Nice one, Maudy. So, I got all totally mindful and gave myself a talking to, looked up SMARRT goal setting and applied that. Small goals that are specific and measurable. Fucking der, man. Being much more successful in May. Although I seriously suck at sleeping. I tried tracking spending, but memo to self – school holidays is *not* the time of year to be doing that sort of thing. $20 here, $50 there, $40 for the pictures, $10 for a magazine… eh,that was a bit fucked up. I’m trying again in May, but I keep forgetting to write shit down. I don’t think I’ll bother in June.

One thing I really like about this methodology is – well, if something’s not working, you can ditch it. I realised pretty quickly I needed a weekend list (usual suspects – washing, planning and hunting for the family, plus odd shit I want to do) and that a weekly list as well as my daily mini-lists was essential because there was ALWAYS something I needed to remember for a couple of days ahead of time. On the weekly list I have a wee to-do list, and I’ve added my Flylady-esque cleaning lists. My cleaning fairy does the basics, my fly-lists are 8-10 little jobs that are nice to be done but don’t really matter if I don’t do them – again, because they’re on the radar, they’re at least done every couple of months. Win. The daily lists are the half a dozen odd things I need to remember on a given day. I’ve been having a few “moments” lately, so I’ve added some stuff I wouldn’t usually list to keep my head where it needs to be (above my shoulders and not so much hiding under a bin. Long story.) So far, so good.

I did take up grown up colouring in – although I do like it, it’s not really practical for anything aside from letting your mind roam free. The thing about this exercise is it helps me focus. I know what needs to be done because it’s written down, I don’t have to remember, I just have to check the list. I’ve got notes on how to do stuff (like, fixing the damn emails) and highlights of the month. It’s quite soothing to sit down with my gigantic tub of stationery and write shit down, draw a few pictures (even if it’s just the weather) and mess about with washi tape (I cannot believe I did not know what washi was until six weeks ago. I am Feeling The Lerve). And my handwriting is improving – my typing, on the other hand, appears to be going to shit! These things happen and I will get used to this damn keyboard.

Also, I have this vague idea of Future Ancestor discovering a box full of journals in the future and flicking through them and finding out about the minutiae of the day to day life of someone in the 21st century (and their eyes glazing over with the boredom as they read of washing and cleaning and what we ate. Social history as it happened)

And there you go, 1,300+ words and no pictures. I hope you found it illuminating.

 

No no she’s not dead, she’s, she’s restin’

Yes, definitely not dead. And yes, definitely having a wee rest from the tidying up of all the things. There comes a point in ones life when one has folded and tidied everything into submission (or as close as can be considered submission when a) one lives with other people and b) one is steadfastly ignoring the sentimental category); and when one has realised that one would like to, you know, do other shit that one considers fun, one hangs up the garbage bags and loans the books to someone else and um. Does other shit for a bit.

I’ve just had the school holidays off with absolutely NOTHING on. This is the first time since ever (I think, definitely BC) that I have taken two weeks off with the sole purpose of doing one full time job instead of two. It’s been rather good, actually. I have certainly done some tidying – the laundry now no longer makes me shudder every time I go in there. I would have liked to have painted it (long involved story, don’t go there), so I have to wait. And I did in fact sort out the filing cabinet and the cupboard it was in (which was actually more of an issue than the filing cabinet). You can now open and close the cupboard without fear of things landing on ones head. I even ditched the bath toys. The offspring are now 10 and 13. They don’t use bath toys any more. I filled the rubbish bin (and the recycling bin) several times, and I’m spreading the lerve around the local op shops. So yeah, time for a break from the cleaning and the tidying. And I did a spot of crochet – not as much as I’d hoped, but none the less, I have two sets of squares to complete. I did stuff with the kids – took them to the skate park, took them to the pool (wee horrors made me get in with them!) took them shopping… let them go see Batman v Superman in the fancy cinema all by themselves because no. Just no. Deadpool yes. Daredevil? Love it sick. Batman and Superman? Not my cup of tea.

And I’m also looking into mindfulness again. I discovered it many moons ago when I had a one year old and a four year old and spent my entire days alternating between screeching like a banshee and locking myself in my room and rocking just a little bit. I discovered a book called “Buddhism for Mothers with Lingering Questions” by Sarah Napthali – apparently, it was the second one. Nowt like starting in the middle. BUT in saying that, when I picked up the book when I was doing the great book cullage, and after I laughed at *all* the tags and flags and bookmarks (there’s like forty including and not limited to post its, bandaids (unused), shopping dockets, tags from clothes…) and had a flick through, I was all yeah. Ok. I need to look at this again.

I am a bit of a stress head. In my case, I am talking very literally. When I get a bit cross and a bit tense and a bit under pressure, I tend to clench my jaw. I have a very strong jaw. VERY strong. I’ve cracked oh, five teeth. I suspect that they were all a bit cracked, but I’ve fucked one six ways to sideways and I shall shortly be flash as a rat with TWO gold teeth. That’ll be $3K thanks very much. That’s more than my first two cars cost. Put together. Anyway, so that I can avoid being the proud owner of five gold teeth I need to loosen up a little. Meditation is not my strong suit – I have a very untidy mind and the attention span of a goldfish with ADD. So, yeah, I’ve never had much success with meditation. And according to the other book I bought (Be Mindful and Simplify Your Life) – you can’t meditate until you can do mindfulness. Also, there’s a wee quiz. If you score ten or less, you should go see a mindfulness counsellor or a psychologist. I got eleven. It appears I need work. I’ve been reading bits and bobs from that book and from Lingering Questions, and I’ve also been revisiting ole mate Marcus Aurelius. He’s often got some suitable words for the less stoic among us. This little gem popped up when I was looking for something else – you could consider it a Sign if you were that way inclined.

Look within. Let neither the peculiar quality of anything nor its value escape thee.

(Marcus Aurelius Antoninus. (121–180).  The Meditations of Marcus Aurelius.)

That statement applies well to almost everything that I’ve got going on at the moment – The KonMari business, the need to increase my mindfulness (even if only to avoid spending the other $5K on fixing the rest of my teeth). So, my cunning plan is to at least tidy my mind a little bit and calm the fuck down. I’m also returning to a slightly expanded and flashed up version of Bullet Journaling (more on that later) in which I am going to be tracking some new habits like, you know. Going to bed at a reasonable time, doing creative shit, reading…

(Eight minutes to go clean ma teeth, wash ma face and get into bed! G’nite)

 

 

*Title shamelessly stolen and slightly altered from the Dead Parrot sketch by Monty Python